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English majors abroad, 'on the road' and at home

English students in Paris.
English students in Paris.

English majors learn to think about how literature engages with the world. Students can take their major abroad, “on the road,” and work with the local community.

Study away

Augustana has an extensive study away program, and because many international programs are led by English faculty, English majors have a wide range of opportunities to study literature while traveling the world.

At Augustana, English majors have the chance to:

• Read Irish myths and legends while exploring the Irish countryside.

• Spend the summer in Paris, reading Hemingway and Fitzgerald and following them through the cafes, jazz clubs, and museums that inspired them.

• Read Scandinavian noir mystery novels and study health, education, and culture in Norway.

• Learn about colonialism by reading contemporary African literature in Ghana.

• Travel to Vietnam to read Vietnam War literature and see how American writers, poets, and journalists responded to its horrors.

• Travel to Dehli and Jaipur, India, to read South Asian women’s literature and learn about Indian women’s activism.

For more information about studying abroad at Augustana, see the Office of International and Off-Campus Programs.

“On the Road”

“On the Road” is the English department’s field trip series. Each year, the department sponsors trips for English majors to places of literary interest. Recent trips have brought students to:

• Chicago to see plays at the Steppenwolf and Chicago Shakespeare Theaters

• The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, to hear Wendell Berry speak about environmentalism and farming

• Mark Twain’s hometown in Hannibal, Mo., for caving and riverboat riding.

Elizabeth O'Hara
Elizabeth O'Hara gives her Senior Inquiry presentation. At left her subject, writer Alice French, a.k.a. Octave Thanet, as a young woman.


Augustana students also study literature as it relates to the local community. Some recent projects of note include:

• Local Culture (2010), an online journal committed to sustainable and localized living. This student run journal publishes undergraduate essays from students around the country on ecology, sustainability, localism, environmentalism, and related issues.

• The Stories We Tell: Modernism in the Tri-Cities (published by East Hall Press, 2014). In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some of the most important writers in America came from the Tri-Cities (now known as the Quad Cities).

Today, few people know their names. In 2014, a group of senior English majors researched, edited, and published an anthology of fiction, poetry, drama, and letters from Tri-Cities writers (including Susan Glaspell, Floyd Dell, Octave Thanet, Arthur Davison Ficke, and others) so that a new generation of readers might discover this rich literary history.

Sailing up a fjord in Norway.
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